Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11 updates regarding southwestern Alberta fire situation Fire Weather Index September 11, 2017

Briefs from Parks Canada teleconferance held this afternoon at 3:30 pm (update in progress):

  • According to Incident Commander Rick Kubian (quoted in the excerpts below as well), the fire has crossed approximately 50 hectares into Waterton Lakes National Park from British Columbia, and is currently approximately 15 kilometres from the Waterton townsite.  It could reach the Waterton townsite within 8 or 10 hours, due to challenging winds.  It could reach the townsite or exit the park.
  • "The fire has not yet reached Akimina Pass, so it is still on the west side of the continental divide at Akimina Pass."
  • "I would just like to emphasize that at this time, the fire is still very close to or just over the continental divide."
  • The weather forecast indicates a chance of showers on Tuesday night through Wednesday, with rain and light rain forecasted for Thursday and Friday respectively, which may significantly assist in extinguishing the fire.  "We should have only 2 to 3 more burning days based on our forecasted weather, so there is some relief in sight."
  • "We are hopeful that with resources in hand that we will be able to  slow the spread of the fire," buying time for the forecasted rain.
  • Non-essential Parks Canada staff have been moved to a new base of operations in Pincher Creek.
  • "We are very well prepared for this event."
  • "Hopefully, this scenario is one that we have some challenges over the next two to three days, then we are hopeful that we do see some relief."
  • "So, while a serious situation, to be sure, at this time with the fire just having breached the continental divide, we do take good comfort in the fact that we are well prepared for this to move into Waterton Lakes on a larger scale, and we have the resources in place to be able to deal with this as it moves into Waterton Lakes National Park."
  • The number of responders and amount of equipment on-scene is deemed to be sufficient, because there was a significant amount of advance notice for the response, and because too many assets can complicate rather than help with the situation.  "With the time we have had to prepare for this event, we feel very well resourced." 

Parks Canada at 1:00 pm September 11, 2017:


The Kenow Fire travelled another 4.5 km southeast along the Akamina Valley during yesterday’s burning period and as of this morning is approximately 1.5 km from Akamina Pass It has moved 11.5 km down this valley over the past three days and is approximately 11,400 hectares in size. Intense fire behaviour is forecast for the next two or three days and there is a high probability the wildfire will round the corner at Akamina Pass and enter the Cameron Valley in Waterton Lakes National Park today. The most intense fire behaviour has been taking place between 16:00 and 18:00.

The unified command team has identified many containment options, including areas for strategic burnouts and sprinkler lines, to slow or stop the wildfire should it enter the park.

An approximately 50 hectare fire established in the Tamarack Basin within the park boundary. Helicopters are bucketing water to suppress this fire today.

Extensive fire protection resources are installed on critical infrastructure, park resources and in the townsite. Current and incoming resources include 185 personnel, 14 aircraft, multiple fire engines, water tenders, and 16 specialized structural and wildland fire crews.

A containment strategy consisting of sprinklers and burnouts is ready to prevent the fire from leaving the park, should it be needed.

The unified team is continuing aggressive suppression action on the fire’s northern flank to stop it from entering the Castle drainages.

Intense fire behaviour, high winds and smoke continue to impede visibility and fire suppression. 

Waterton Lakes National Park is closed.

Calgary Forest Protection Area south of Highway 532 is closed.

Intense fire behaviour is generating significant smoke. Wind direction and temperature inversions may result in low-lying smoke in areas north of Waterton, especially at night.

Exercise caution while driving in the area, especially at night. Check AB 511 for driving conditions. Speed limits or closures may be put in place.

Wildfire smoke affects people differently. People with pre-existing health conditions or sensitivities to air pollution are at risk of worsened symptoms from smoke exposure. For smoke and air quality alerts visit:

1 comment:

  1. thanks for keeping us updated on this issue.


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